Friday, December 20, 2013
Detector built at CMU successfully transported to JLab
The Department’s Quark Interactions Group achieved a major milestone on October 29, 2013. On this date, the group successfully transported a major scientific instrument, constructed in their Wean Hall labs, from CMU to Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory (JLAB) in Newport News, Virginia. The detector, known as the Central Drift Chamber (CDC), will be a key element of an experiment designed to search for exotic new particles built from quarks, antiquarks, and gluons.
After constructing and testing a series of prototype detectors, the group began constructing the CDC in the spring of 2010. The device, readout by 3,500 channels of cutting-edge electronics, will be used to reconstruct the tracks of subatomic particles created using JLAB’s high-energy electron accelerator. Prof. Curtis Meyer has overseen the development of the CDC and is also the spokesman of an international group of physicists, known as the GlueX collaboration, who will be responsible for running the GlueX experiments.
Prof. Meyer is a member of the experimental wing of the Department’s Quark Interactions Group, along with Franklin, Quinn, and Schumacher. The group also includes theorists Morningstar and Kisslinger. The Quark Interaction Group works in the branch of particle physics known as “Medium Energy Physics”. Their research is designed to provide insight into how quarks and gluons come together to form the protons, and neutrons that make up most of the known mass of the universe, as well as determining other less well-known structures.
As the CDC project transitions from its construction phase to its commissioning and running phases, the construction of another detector for JLAB is just beginning. This detector, known as a hadron calorimeter, will be used in a new particle spectrometer dubbed SuperBigbite. While the GlueX collaboration will focus on the discovery of new particles built from quarks, the SuperBigbite Collaboration will extract properties of the quarks that reside within the proton and the neutron. Slated to weigh-in at 40 tons, the hadron calorimeter will be SuperBigbite’s largest detector.
Carnegie Mellon’s Quark Interactions experimental group is well-known in the physics community. During a comprehensive review of the nuclear physics programs supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the group tied for second among all the groups working in the field of Medium Energy.